5 Feet of Fury

“Philip Rieff’s 1973 prophecy has been vindicated: ‘Immediately behind the hippies are the thugs'”

They occupy the remissive space opened up by the hippies, deepening it from an aesthetic into a politics. The self-absorbed therapy of the hippies clears the way for the mass-murder therapy of the thugs.


Perhaps no one articulated this transition better than Alasdair MacIntyre in After Virtue, where he noted that “protest becomes a distinctive moral feature of the modern age and … indignation is a predominant modern emotion.” Emotivism, the theory that moral judgments are neither true nor false but merely feelings of approval or disapproval, replaces accounts of moral judgment as something that responsible, intelligent adults could calmly argue about in hopes of attaining not only agreement but truth.

If moral judgments are nothing more than articulations of preference, then moral claims are dictates of power, and only the naïve continue to patiently offer reasons. The shrewd exercise power through repressive tolerance and busily continue their march through the institutions of our common life.